There’s something dramatic about arriving into a town from the desert – the sand parts smoothly giving way to the wide streets, shops, people and even brunch cafes.
It’s all the more dramatic when that town is Swakopmund, ad German-style town right bang in the middle of the Namibian desert coastline. The buildings were turn of the, last, century German style with a good proportion of the town still speaking the mother country tongue.
The temperature dropped by about 15c within a couple of hours of driving. Offshore running up the length of the coast is the chilly Benguela current which flows up through the Southern oceans from Antarctica and governs the climate in these parts.
Our lodging was maritime themed too – put up in renovated shipping containers on the edge of town which were actually far better than it sounds. For the overlanders Swakopmund is the adventure activity stop – skydiving, quad biking, sandboarding and for the sedate even a couple of camels on site for a hoof around.
Arriving on a Friday night we were all booked in for dinner together giving us a chance to try different game meats and seafood platters. Mine was a combination of zebra, qudu, oryx and impala with the zebra being the most tender of the lot.
Our guide Marika had the inside track on a new club opening that night and so we all headed in convoy out to the industrial sector to a renovated warehouse to check it out. Things got off to a quiet start with delays at the bar but once the shots happened the night was in full swing.
It continued on until all hours when most of us decided to get a taxi – together. With about 6 of us, 7 including the driver, we zipped down odd side streets as I attempted to read my GPS with someone on top of me. Some party animals decided to stay out clubbing into the small hours – including one who had booked an early morning dolphin watching trip. Unsurprisingly the opportunity to head on a bumpy boat with included champagne and oysters wasn’t so attractive come the morning!
Six of our group headed out instead to try our hand at sandboarding on the dunes outside town.
Similar enough to snowboarding except the board have laminate underside which needs waxing each run due to the abrasive sand.
I managed not to tumble on my first go but not so much luck for one girl who face-planted into the sand right in front of the video camera recording events.
Most got the hang of it after a few runs but there’s a lot to be said for chair lifts when walking up a dune for a 20 second run. To finish it all we had a race on some waxed cardboards – Sascha won with a speed of 66kph every kilometre of which was screamed out on the way down!